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Jorge Jesus' side are favourites to beat Alan Pardew's men and Willie Duncan believes that the Eagles can keep a clean sheet in Thursday night's Europa League tie

Papiss Cisse scored a dramatic 94th minute winner against Anzhi Makhachkala last month to book Newcastle United’s place in the last eight of the Europa League, but Alan Pardew’s men know that they will face a stern test when they travel to Lisbon to face Portuguese league leaders Benfica on Thursday night.

Jorge Jesus’ side warmed up for their meeting with Newcastle by thumping Rio Ave 6-1 on Saturday and the free-scoring Eagles are rated as a 1/2 (1.50) chance with William Hill to get the better of the Magpies on Thursday.

The Premier League side have won just one of their six away Europa League ties thus far this term and can be backed at 6/1 (7.0) with William Hill to claim a famous victory over Benfica here, while the same firm offer 3/1 (4.0) that the match ends in stalemate.

The enormity of the task facing Alan Pardew’s Magpies is highlighted by the fact that Jorge Jesus’ men have scored an impressive 18 goals in their last five matches in all competitions, while it is also worth noting that Benfica have conceded just four goals in their last nine outings.

With that in mind, the 6/4 (2.50) quote from William Hill for the in-form Portuguese outfit to score in both halves is sure to attract plenty of support and the same firm offer a hugely generous 6/5 (2.20) that Benfica win to nil on Thursday night.

The Eagles will look to South American duo Oscar Cardozo and Rodrigo Lima to fire them to glory in this tie and both players are more than capable of impressing in front of the home crowd.

Brazilian striker Lima, who scored a hat-trick against Rio Ave at the weekend, is available at 7/2 (4.50) with William Hill to break the deadlock on Thursday, while Paraguay’s Cardozo is rated as the 3/1 (4.0) favourite with the same firm to score first.

William Hill have produced a couple of "headline offers" for this match with the odds compilers offering 6/4 (2.50) that Cardozo scores at any time in a win for the Portuguese side.

Conversely, Newcastle backers will be keen to invest in the chunky 10/1 (11.0) quote from the same firm that Papiss Cisse is on target in a win for the visitors.

Alan Pardew’s men crashed to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City on Saturday afternoon and it could well prove to be a long night for the Magpies in Lisbon on Thursday.

The 6/5 (2.20) quote from William Hill for Benfica to win to nil is the standout selection here, while the same firm’s 7/2 (4.50) offer for the in-form Lima to start the ball rolling for the hosts should be popular with those looking for bigger returns.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Benfica to win to nil at 6/5 (2.20) with William Hill
Lima to score first at 7/2 (4.50) with William Hill

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Willie Duncan is a freelance sports journalist. Willie, from Edinburgh, has covered Scottish football for over 10 years and he specialises in football betting markets from across Europe. You can also follow Willie on Twitter

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